ST. PETERSBURG — The Churches United for Healthy Congregation’s 10th annual caregiver’s conference, The Many Faces of Caregiving, was held Sat., March 19 at the All Children’s Education Conference Center in St. Petersburg. The conference provides a morning away from caregiving responsibilities for those who look after others and gives them an opportunity to connect with resources in the community, as well as hear seasoned speakers who have also been caregivers.
The conference was opened by Lounell Britt, executive director of the Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center, which houses the Churches for Healthy Congregations program. Dr. Sandra Grosvenor from St. Anthony’s Faith Community Nursing Program was the Mistress of Ceremonies for this tenth and final conference, and she was also the hosted the very first conference held in 2007.
As the main speaker, Linda O’Keefe Wood, ARNP, spoke on “The Many Faces of Caregiving.” O’Keefe Wood is an ARNP at Bay Pines Veterans Hospital and has worked with caregivers for many years. As part of the morning, the attendees participated in an interactive session where they were asked to draw the face of the person they cared for and then tell about their caregiving experience to the large group.
Through sharing experiences, the group was able to come together in a spirit of connection that let everyone know they are not alone in the journey of caregiving. Teralyn Hodge, retired teacher and community worker, ended the morning with her spirited talk entitled “I Get It— A Caregiver’s Perspective.”
Many community vendors were on hand to provided needed resources, including Alzheimer’s Association, Bay Pines Veteran Hospital, Children’s Home Kinship Care Program, City of St. Petersburg Healthy St. Pete Program, Empath Health, Healthy Start at All Children’s Hospital, Neighborly Care Network, Pinellas County Health Department, Pinellas Urban League, and Suncoast Center. The St. Petersburg Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association and the Pinellas Technical College nursing students were also on hand to provide health screenings.
The Conference was offered at no cost to attendees and provided breakfast and lunch. Sponsors were the Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center, Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Empath Health and the Healthy Start program at All Children’s Hospital.